Welcome to my stop on the Jade War Blog Tour!
Title: Jade War
Author: Fonda Lee
Publisher: Orbit Books
Publication date: 23 July 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
In Jade War, the sequel to the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Jade City, the Kaul siblings battle rival clans for honor and control over an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.
On the island of Kekon, the Kaul family is locked in a violent feud for control of the capital city and the supply of magical jade that endows trained Green Bone warriors with supernatural powers they alone have possessed for hundreds of years.
Beyond Kekon’s borders, war is brewing. Powerful foreign governments and mercenary criminal kingpins alike turn their eyes on the island nation. Jade, Kekon’s most prized resource, could make them rich – or give them the edge they’d need to topple their rivals.
Faced with threats on all sides, the Kaul family is forced to form new and dangerous alliances, confront enemies in the darkest streets and the tallest office towers, and put honor aside in order to do whatever it takes to ensure their own survival – and that of all the Green Bones of Kekon.
Jade War is the second book of the Green Bone Saga, an epic trilogy about family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of blood and jade.
Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Warnings: graphic violence, gun violence, body horror, mention of sexual violence, homophobia
It could be argued that the main war between the clans happened in Jade City, so why is this one being called the Jade War, but there’s an interesting take on ‘war’ that this book represents for this series. While most of the direct and violent conflict between No Peak and Mountain had taken place in the previous book, with the two opposing clans having arrived to the conclusion that they cannot take on the other without tremendous loss, and are thus in a stalemate at the start of this book, it cannot be denied that the war continues on another dimension. And actual war is breaking out overseas on the continent, which drags Kekon into a proxy war where they have to balance their traditional values with modern demands, and preservation of allies against protection of their own sovereignty.
In this book, No Peak and Mountain engage in a war that takes place without street violence – going after places that would hurt each other the most, as in their businesses, their public standing, their foreign relations, and their pride as Green Bones. It is a constant game of trying to one-up each other, and even Hilo, with his Horn-like tendencies towards running the clan, has to admit that indirect battle and long game plans are the way to strike at the Mountain. Shae is obviously an advocate for this, and she cultivates the Espenian relationships to that end, which is a tricky balance on its own. As the war on a foreign continent surges, there are various other consequences emanating from it that are felt for Kekon, even when it is not directly involved. With Espenians demanding more jade, and the black market for jade flourishing alongside the market for SN1 and shine, the No Peak clan has to decide how much they can stand by their ideals with modernization.
This book also brings in the expat and immigrant experiences, albeit indirectly, to show us what Kekonese experiences are outside their home country. Anden, exiled to Espenia, finds a community of Kekonese immigrants who are also affected by the illegal jade trade, in a different way; he also finds a different perspective to look at the Green Bone way of life, as he figures out how he wants to pursue his life without falling to the lure of jade. Meanwhile back home, Wen is once again partnering with Shae to contribute in what she can, and there’s a growing bond between the sisters in law. There’s an additional perspective of Kehn, too, in this book, but I felt it didn’t add much to the plot, much like Bero’s (grrr) arc; the latter seems like a minor player who may grow to be a big part but it hasn’t happened yet.
While the plot of the book is interesting in itself, and the narrative covers a broad range of topics and story threads, I felt this book didn’t exactly live up to the potential of the first book. The action scenes are cool and all, and there is a particularly heart-stopping duel in the book, but I felt the book overall, it didn’t strike me in the feels as much as the previous book did. This may also be because it felt like the book was telling us a story from further away, as opposed to how close we were to the characters in Jade City. I can’t help the comparisons because I loved that book, and this one had a glacial pace that had me struggling to continue reading; despite how much I love these characters, it can’t be denied that even getting till 200 pages was a chore. It grew better towards the end, but it did feel like the book was spreading itself thin trying to take on so many plot threads together.
Overall, while this has a fantastic storyline and a great concept to stand on, the execution of it wasn’t so well-done.
Is it diverse? East Asian setting with mostly POC characters, gay biracial character with bisexual love interest
Previous book in the Green Bone Saga
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Caffeine Book Tours.
Fonda Lee writes science fiction and fantasy for adults and teens. She is the author of the Green Bone Saga, beginning with Jade City (Orbit), which won the 2018 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, was nominated for the Nebula Award and the Locus Award, and was named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Barnes & Noble, Syfy Wire, and others. The second book in the Green Bone Saga, Jade War, releases in the summer of 2019. Fonda’s young adult science fiction novels Zeroboxer (Flux), Exo and Cross Fire (Scholastic), have garnered numerous accolades including being named Junior Library Guild Selection, Andre Norton Award finalist, Oregon Book Award finalist, Oregon Spirit Book Award winner, and YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. In 2018, Fonda gained the distinction of winning the Aurora Award, Canada’s national science fiction and fantasy award, twice in the same year for Best Novel and Best Young Adult Novel.
Fonda wrote her first novel, about a dragon on a quest for a magic pendant, in fifth grade during the long bus ride to and from school each day. Many years later, she cast her high school classmates as characters in her second novel, a pulpy superhero saga co-written with a friend by passing a graphing calculator back and forth during biology class. Fortunately, both of these experiments are lost to the world forever.
Fonda is a former corporate strategist who has worked for or advised a number of Fortune 500 companies. She holds black belts in karate and kung fu, goes mad for smart action movies (think The Matrix, Inception, and Minority Report) and is an Eggs Benedict enthusiast. Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, she currently resides in Portland, Oregon.